Saturday, September 30, 2006


Have you wondered why some have higher IQ’s than others?

“Stephen Ceci, Ph.D., lays out facts about intelligence that may astound even the experts.’

Fact 1: IQ is affected by school attendance.

Although intelligence does influence the decision to stay in school, staying in school itself can elevate IQ. Or more accurately, prevent it from slipping.

Each additional month a student remains in school may increase his IQ above what would have been expected had he dropped out. The idea that schooling increases IQ may surprise anyone who views it as a measure of innate intelligence.

A few other facts about school attendance:

IQ is affected by delayed schooling. Researchers in South Africa studied the intellectual function of children of Indian ancestry. For each year of delayed schooling, the children experienced a decrement of five IQ points. Similar data has been reported in the U.S.

IQ is affected by remaining in school longer. Toward the end of the Vietnam War, a draft priority was established by lottery. Men born on July 9, 1951, were picked first so they tended to stay in school longer to avoid the draft; while men born July 7 had no incentive to stay in school longer because they were picked last in the lottery. As a result, men born on July 9 not only had higher IQ’s, they also earned more money – approximately 7% more.

Dropping out of school can also diminish IQ. In a large-scale study, 10% of all males in the Swedish school population born in 1948 were randomly selected and given an IQ test at age 13. Upon reaching age 18 (in 1966), 4,616 of them were tested again. For each year of high school not completed, there was a loss of 1.8 IQ points.

IQ is affected by summer vacations. Two independent studies have documented that there is a systematic decline in IQ scores over the summer months. With each passing month away from school, children lose ground from their end of year scores. The decline is pronounced for children whose summers are least academically oriented.

Fact 2: IQ is related to breast-feeding.

My colleagues and I were skeptical when we first heard claims that breast-fed infants grew into children with higher IQ’s than their siblings who were not breast-fed. There are factors that differ between breast-fed and non-breast fed children, such as the amount of time mother and child spend together through nursing and the sense of closeness they gain from nursing.
It turns out, however, that even when researchers control for such factors, there still appears to be a gain of 3 to 8 IQ points for breast-fed by children by age three. Exactly why is unclear. Perhaps the immune factors in mother’s milk prevent children from getting diseases that deplete energy and impair early learning. Breast milk may also affect nervous system functioning. Mother’s milk is an especially rich source of mega-3 fatty acids that are building blocks of nerve cell membranes and crucial to the efficient transmission of nerve impulses.

READ MORE ABOUT IT: On Intelligence: A Bio-ecological Treatise on Intellectual Development, Stephen J. Ceci, Ph.D. (Harvard University Press, 1996)

(Quoted from – Intelligence: The Surprising Truth by Stephen Ceci, Ph.D.)

For information on “Education of Young Children”, visit –

The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)



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